American opposition to 5G technology has been ongoing for years due to various significant risks associated with it including aviation safety. In December 2021, AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay their 5G expansion until January 5 due to warnings (see 1, 2); however, airlines, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA), and transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg asked for more time. The telecoms originally rejected their request but then agreed to delay the rollout until January 19 and also create 5G “buffer zones” at some (but not all) airports. Due to lingering concerns, helicopter fleets may be grounded this week anyway. Regardless, today the FAA reduced 5G restrictions at some airports but still seems to be issuing safety warnings.
From RCR Wireless:
FAA eases 5G C-Band restrictions, clears some planes for low-visibility landings
January 17, 2022
An estimated 45% of the U.S. commercial fleet has been cleared for low-visibility landings at some airports where 5G C-Band will be deployed, says the FAA
Days after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued more than 1,400 warnings to pilots about the possibility that on-board aviation systems may be disrupted by 5G C-Band operations, the federal agency has cleared for use two radar altimeters used in some Boeing and Airbus jets. According to the agency, this easing of restrictions will enable 45% of U.S. aircrafts to make low-visibility landings.
The Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), issued last week, warned pilots that altimeters, automated landing and heads-up displays/enhanced flight vision systems for aircraft should be considered unreliable in specific geographic areas, as should the use of helicopter autopilot hover modes.
Radio altimeters supporting these systems operate between 4.2-4.4 GHz; C-Band 5G operations will initially begin at around 3.7 GHz. While there is substantial RF distance between those two types of operations, the FAA is still concerned about even the possibility of out-of-band interference with altimeter systems, which were not designed to deal with a changing RF environment or terrestrial 5G operations.
But now, several aircraft models, including Boeing’s 737, 747, 757, 767, MD-10 and MD-11 and the Airbus A310, A319, A320, A321, A330 and A350, have been cleared for low-visibility landings, even in locations where 5G is deployed. These aircraft and altimeter approvals, said the FAA, open “runways at as many as 48 of the 88 airports most directly affected by 5G C-Band interference.”
“Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected,” cautioned the agency. “The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems.”
In December, AT&T and Verizon agreed to pause their C-Band plans until early January following warnings issued by the FAA that the 5G spectrum could interfere with aviation safety systems. More recently, when the FAA Chief Steve Dickson and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asked Verizon and AT&T to delay their C-Band roll out for an additional two weeks, the carriers first rejected the new request. The pair changed their tune the following day, however, ultimately agreeing to the two-week delay that will now put C-Band activation at January 19 instead of January 5.
Of course, other significant safety risks have also been identified with 5G including
- Cybersecurity risks (see 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Environmental risks (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Health risks (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Privacy risks (see 1, 2, 3)
- Weather forecasting satellite interference risks
- Utility infrastructure interference risks
Opposition to 5G is worldwide which has slowed and/or stopped deployment in some places. Since 2017 doctors and scientists have asked for moratoriums on Earth and in space (see 1, 2) and the majority of scientists oppose deployment. Since 2018 there have been reports of people and animals experiencing symptoms and illnesses after it was activated (see 1, 2. 3, 4). Some researchers have suggested that 5G deployment may be contributing to COVID-19 infections while others say it is not. Nevertheless, there are health risks associated with 5G exposure as well as exposure to 4G and other sources of wireless Wi-Fi radiation (see 1, 2) and Electromagnetic Fields (aka “Electrosmog”).
In fact, last August, a federal court ruled in favor of organizations and petitioners that sued the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for NOT adequately protecting Americans from wireless radiation exposure (including 5G). More recently, non-profit groups petitioned the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to declare wireless radiation an “imminent” health hazard and to start warning the public about this.